Bears at Servion Zoo in western Switzerland have been given ice lollies to help them keep cool as a heatwave intensifies across parts of the country.
The zoo’s 18-month-old Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) cubs Newton, Jaïko, Laïka and their mother Martine enjoyed their giant frozen treats on Wednesday. The 15-kilogram ice lollies are prepared with various fruits in cans that are frozen.
“We give them iced treats every day when it's hot," zoo director Roland Bulliard told the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA. "It keeps them busy, it keeps them cool."
The diet of the omnivorous brown bears comprises mainly fruits and vegetables with a serving of meat three times a week, so this is a special treat in hot weather. The three youngsters do not have much time left in Switzerland, though. They will be moved to an English zoo at the end of the year, as their mother is likely to resent their presence when they are fully grown.
Switzerland and northwestern Europe are this week experiencing a second heatwave after the one at the end of June. The government has declared a heatwave warning danger level of 3 out of a maximum 5 for the northern side of the Alps, the Valais and southern Ticino. This can mean anywhere from 29°C with 75% relative humidity to 34° with 30% humidity. The risk of fire is also high in parts of central and southern Switzerland.
On Wednesday, the town of Sion recorded the highest temperature of the year at 38°C. The highest-ever recorded in Switzerland is 41.5°C on August 11, 2003 in the village of Grono (canton Graubünden) in south-eastern Switzerland.